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An Apartment Dweller’s Guide to Texas-Style Pulled Pork

2011 May 18

Today we have a special feature courtesy of Marissa Guggiana, The Butcher’s Guild Co-Founder, and author of Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.  The Butcher’s Guild is a fraternity of meat professionals with a mission to create a support system for their industry.  Their mandate includes promoting the success of butchers who are operating with integrity, and providing support for those working to improve their practices.  The Butcher’s Guild envisions a strong and sustainable industry where butchers are as common as the corner market, where farmers get the support they need, and courageous carnivores insist on Good Meat!

The Butcher’s Guild is taking on a big, and very necessary, task, and we here at RecipeRelay are huge fans of their project.  In the spirit of spreading the word about Good Meat we are partnering with Marissa on a mini-series of monthly posts, she will be sharing meat centric recipes adapted from leading American butchers and chefs.  Get out your bibs and steak knives and enjoy!

By Marissa Guggiana

Pulled pork is a Southern standard and, particularly in North Carolina it is what you mean when you say barbecue. This recipe is my Yankee, apartment-dwelling version of Stephen Pocock’s Texas-style Pulled Pork. Stephen is the salumist at the world-famous Boccalone in San Francisco and has recently started his own company, Damn Fine Bacon. He is also a Charter Member of The Butcher’s Guild. The guy knows meat, y’all. The sauce recipe is all his but I have adapted the cooking of the meat for those without the means to smoke it. If you were to smoke the meat, Stephen suggests half oak and half hickory split logs and cooking at 200-225 degrees, much like in the oven.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe!

Texas-Style Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hrs per lb of pork (about 8 hrs for 4 lbs), 45 minutes for sauce

Total Time: 8 1/2 – 9 hrs

Yield: 8 servings


  • Boneless Pork Butt (Shoulder), 4lb
  • Dry rub: 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/8 cup black pepper, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cayenne or ancho chili powder to taste
  • 3-4 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • a few liberal grates of bittersweet chocolate
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Let the pork butt get to room temperature.
  2. Pat pork butt dry with a paper towel. Mix dry rub ingredients and coat the butt liberally. Make sure to get into all the seams and crevices, and that every inch of the the butt exterior gets salted.
  3. Put the butt in the oven, fat side up, and allow 2hrs per pound to cook. Once the meat is in the oven, you can prepare the sauce.
  4. Soak the anchos in in hot water until good and soft.
  5. Sweat the onions in the oil until transparent, adding the garlic at the end so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Add the ketchup and molasses and let them come together in the pan for a few minutes, then add everything else, including the ancho chilies. Season to taste with salt, brown sugar, and lemon juice.  Let simmer for about half an hour or so, let it cool. Put in a blender/food processor until smooth.
  7. Pull the pork apart with your fingers over a pan and collect the juices. Add the juice back into the sauce.  Mix as much of the sauce as you want into the shredded pork and serve. The remaining sauce will keep for a week or so in the fridge, though you will probably want to slather on everything that crosses your path.
  8. The pork is traditionally served on a bun with slaw. I like to let everyone add their own sauce and serve on a brioche bun with pickled peppers and arugula but then, I’m from California.

Marissa Guggiana is a food activist, writer and fourth generation meat purveyor.  She is a Co-Founder of The Butcher’s Guild and author of Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.  Her new book, Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants, comes out in October 2011 from Welcome Books.


  • Anonymous

    That pulled pork looks incredible! I love recipes like this where the meat slow cooks for a long time and then becomes pull-apart tender. 

  • Sarah

    I am blown away by the deep red color of the pork butt. Marketing has totally clouded our perception of what good well raised pork is supposed to look like. Red and vital not white and spiritless. The final product also looks absolutely delicious!

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